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TPS: Contract mismanagement found in talent department

Posted at 9:24 AM, Jul 01, 2022
and last updated 2023-08-17 14:38:02-04

TULSA, Okla. — An issue over contract mismanagement involving money is being investigated, Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist says.

The issue was found within the district's talent department involving "the management of a contractor" and does not "involve a substantial dollar amount."

Gist wrote a letter to TPS' board members that she is unable to share more details since it involves personnel issues and an independent review is ongoing.

"We stand united in our commitment to transparency and the importance of a swift response," she writes.

READ the full letter:

Dear board members,

I am writing to let you know that we recently identified an issue within the talent department related to the management of a contractor. Based on our early observations, we engaged an independent party to complete a deeper assessment.

Though the issue we identified does not appear to involve a substantial dollar amount, our response was swift, transparent, and appropriate.

I have taken the following steps:

  • First, I took the necessary personnel action. 
  • Second, I sought the counsel of the District Attorney.
  • Third, I notified our board leadership -- President Stacey Woolley and Vice President John Croisant. We stand united in our commitment to transparency and the importance of a swift response.
The situation is under review, and I am limited in what I can share. While I believe that I have provided all the details I can at this time, please feel free to contact me with questions.



The person involved in the matter no longer works for the school district. At this time, it is unclear how long the independent review will take.

2 News Oklahoma reached out to the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office but since it is an ongoing investigation they cannot comment at this time.

TPS board member Jerry Griffin released the following statement Friday calling for a forensic audit of the district:

"The time is now for a Forensic Audit of Tulsa Public Schools. Today I call on the TPS Board Leadership to put on the agenda an item calling for a Forensic Audit'. The public vote will allow citizens to know where their elected representatives stand on the issue.

I completely agree with Board President Wooley's statement, making sure that we're holding Dr. Gist accountable .. our job is to hold her responsible while also keeping our eyes on the ball.

Now it is clear why I resigned from the Finance Committee last year, then I said 'where there is smoke there is fire' - with the new revelations we see the beginning of the flames'. I've even heard rumblings from some citizens rumblings about a Grand Jury petition.

A police report needs to be filed immediately so the District Attorney can begin his investigation."

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